Taking up the Charity Boxing Challenge

Steve Mercandelli and Kenny Bridge headline a fight card that will raise money for people in need.

Steve Mercandelli

Steve Mercandelli

The Thrilla in Manilla has nothing on the upcoming boxing event that will pit two local businessmen against each other in the Brawl to Settle it All.

Steve Mercandelli and Kenny Bridge are stepping into the ring in the headlining bout as part of a charity boxing event to raise money for deserving individuals and families in the community.

The brainchild of Tom White, a coach with the Cranbrook Eagles Boxing Club, the event will also feature four other bouts featuring local members of the business community.

When White first cooked up the idea for the Charity Boxing Challenge, he put in a call to Mercandelli, who works at Cranbrook Dodge, to see if he’d be interested in taking part.

Mercandelli, who has some boxing experience back when he trained with the British Army, signed on and White asked if there was anyone in the business community that he’d like to fight.

“I said, right away, ‘Kenny Bridge’,” Mercandelli said.

Five minutes later, White called back to say Bridge, the owner of Bridge Interiors, was in.

From there, the event blossomed to include other local men and women sponsored by various other local business in the community.

Along with the bouts, the event will feature a live auction with items donated from various business, which include everything from memberships to the Eagles Boxing Club to a queen bed set to gift certificates to a local restaurant.

“It’s going to be a full night with four or five hours of fun, and every single dime is going back into the community, we’re not keeping anything—we’re donating every dollar,” said White.

“When we’re all done and everything’s counted up, we’re going to distribute the funds out to those in need.”

White has his athletes down at the Eagles Boxing Club twice a week to shape up and prepare for the physical demands of getting into the ring for a few rounds.

“Training’s actually going really well,” said White. “I was surprised at how many of these guys are actually dedicated. The first name that comes to mind is Kenny Bridge. The guy is down here before boxing starts, he’s really taking it serious, and these guys—it’s not going to be a joke, they’re both going all out—which I was surprised, being that they know each other fairly well.

“They both say their leaving nothing outside, they’re giving it all when they’re inside the ring.”

Both of them, arguably the two headliners for the event, are eager to get down to business, brushing up on their showmanship during a recent training session.

Mercandelli fired the first volley, saying the fight has been 13 years in the making.

“I’m fighting a very big man,” Mercandelli said. “He’s got a big target in the centre there, called his stomach, so I think I’m going to focus on the stomach, quite frankly, and work low.

“It’s either the stomach or the big mouth, I don’t know which one I’m going to go for.”

Bridge responded, noting that he’s got a few tricks up his sleeve that his opponent might not expect.

“We got a couple things that Steve doesn’t know, and because this is going to be a one-time deal where if I get disqualified and I’m never allowed to box again—oh well,” Bridge said.

“…He said he’s had 64 fights. I don’t think he’s had any more than 59, after watching him spar down here and stuff. Me having none, I’m not all that worried about it.”


White looking for donation suggestions

White created the boxing challenge with the intent of raising money to go towards deserving individuals and families that are struggling with financial hardship.

But he needs help deciding where the funds should go.

Anyone can anonymously submit their nominations of a particular individual or family to White via email.

Also, if any businesses or organizations wish to contribute prizes towards the live auction, they can contact White for that as well.

White can be reached at: tom@freightlinercbk.com

Items up on the live auction block so far include:

Queen Bed Set – Bridge Interiors Cranbrook

Watch – Jewels on Ninth Cranbrook

Dinner for two – Frank’s Steak & Schnitzel Haus Cranbrook

Nascar Driver, Autographed Hats & Shirts – Freightliner of Cranbrook

One year pass for boxing – Barry Shingar Trucking Cranbrook

One year pass for boxing – All in the Family Lawn Care Cranbrook

Three Hot Yoga Classes – One Love Hot Yoga Kimberley (new location opening in Cranbrook)

4 hr skid steer rental -Ray Kelly TomCat contracting